Sync & Swimm

Marketing, Stocks, Sales, Radio & Rants

Archive for the month “December, 2011”

How Can You Go To Plan B When You Don’t Have Plan A? #Goals

As 2011 limps in for its final breath this week, I look with hope to 2012.  Over the next few weeks I’ll plan my business, personal, fitness, and spiritual goals for the upcoming year.  When you actually take the time to write out goals, it unleashes a magic in the universe.  I know that last statement is overflowing with “self-help” jargon, and you may have sighed as you read it, but it’s true.

I try to list out my goals every year.  You see, that’s the key. Writing them down makes you think and work towards them. When you write them out, your mind works on your goals even when you are busy doing other things. At the end of the year, I may not have completed everything on my list, but if I look at goals from the last ten years, about 80% have been accomplished. Would I have completed them without writing them down and focusing on them?  I can say with complete honesty, the answer is no.

Another secret for growth and accomplishing goals is not what you add to your life, but what you take away.  Cutting key elements out of your world that bring you away from your goals is critical.  You only have so many hours in a day. Focus on the positive, rid yourself of the negative.

Here are four ideas to get you started for 2012:

(1)-Find something that’s really important to you.  Something that will change your life.

(2)-Decide that you’re going to get it. Picture yourself already achieving it.

(3)-Use a system to keep you on-task.  Writing it down and hold yourself accountable. Set up rewards. Talk about the goals with your family and close friends. A sacrifice today could be worth a fortune in the future.

(4)-Do something daily, (or at least weekly) to work towards your goal.

Do this and I guarantee you will be closer to your goals a year from now.

Here are a few of my professional goals for the year–Let’s see how much ground I make in a year:

(1)-Have a fully staffed sales team.  6 sellers who are all trained in copy writing, cold calling, promotions, and creating great campaigns for their clients.

(2)-Have the team continue to be the best in our industry and area.

(3)-Have the sales team call on a minimum of 5,000 new clients in 2012.

(4)-Grow sales by 8% for the year.

Now it’s written down–I will move mountains to make sure we have 8% growth this year.  How incredible it will be to write in this blog on 12/25/2012 and say where we finished off.  Don’t get me wrong, a lot can happen over that period of time. We could miss the mark and the economy could get worse. However, I’m quite confident that if things crash, the team with a plan will survive through it better than the one that doesn’t create a roadmap.

How can you go to Plan B when you don’t have a Plan A?

Good luck–Happy Holidays

The Hard Part Isn’t Making Money–It’s Investing It Wisely

All advertising mediums work if you use them the right way.  Businesses and agencies get caught up in the price-CPP-CPM-Ect. The only thing that matters is the return on investment  (ROI).  If a TV commercial brings you  $10,000 in revenue, why do you care if it cost $5,000 to produce and air? Put that same $5,000 in a money market account (the only way to really have it be”risk -free”) and in a year you will have about $5,050 in your account.  Advertising involves risk, but isn’t risk what made your company successful in the first place?

When you advertise you hit a target audience.  Your target audience has about 150  friends and relatives they talk to.  (More when you factor in social media). If you get just get a few people in the door and treat them right, you will get a tremendous amount of positive word of mouth.  So what is a brand new customer really worth to you for future business? 

Of course I’m a radio guy so I believe strongly in my medium, but  it doesn’t matter where you invest as long as it gets results.  I don’t care what advertising medium you use, if you do it properly, your investment will get an ROI.  The only way to really monitor results is by how much is in the cash register after the campaign.

Read everything you can on advertising, and find a sales representative that you trust.  Follow the four keys. (1)-Reach.  (2)-Frequency.  (3)-Consistency. (4)- Creative  (the message). 

 I included a chart below to show the strengths and weaknesses of the most popular ways to market your business.  Advertising is an investment, not an expense.  Know there is always some risk, but there is a far better risk/reward ratio than investing in the hottest IPO or shoving it under your mattress.

I Can’t Talk To You While I’m Yelling!

The workplace has a way of reinforcing bad habits. Let me explain.  All leaders and managers, (myself included) have moments where the standard civil approaches at problems don’t work.  I call it the “breakdown of 3”.  Whenever a subordinate does something wrong continuously, the breakdown usually plays out something like this. 

Strike #1: The first incident usually doesn’t go too badly.  Maybe a sarcastic comment or two–The manager hopes that the person is just having a bad day.  “I’ll overlook this one, because Mary is usually such a good worker”.

Strike #2: The 2nd infraction causes the redness under the collar to burn a bit more.   In hopes of keeping harmony in the workplace, the thoughtful and caring leader will bring it up again, but won’t push it too hard.   A pattern is starting to develop, and patience is beginning to run out.  Here is where disaster can be avoided if the leader would take the time to sit down and have a heart to heart with the employee.  This is what should happen, and sometimes it does, but most of the time real dialog doesn’t occur.  Big mistake.  This is the pivotal moment, but because we are all so busy a REAL conversation is put on hold—-UNTIL:

Strike #3: The evil doer pushes the last button.  It always comes at a horrible time when the stress levels are already at a breaking point—Strike 3 is usually the point of no return.  I’ve been there many times, along with every manager I’ve ever worked for–Even the great ones.  So the yelling begins…..AND where life actually gets better in the workplace–For everyone except the manager–You see, the manager feels guilty, horrible, out of control, and like a failure, because they lost their cool.

This is where the meltdown actually creates a pattern where more blowups will occur.  The bad behavior of the leader actually makes things go back to normal–quickly.  All the other workers see how bad you yelled at Mary, so they start going out of their way not to make waves. Mary will hold a grudge if you don’t patch things up, but let’s assume a deep conversation does finally take place—Now Mary never wants it to go into meltdown mode ever again, so her work improves.

A leaders bad behavior is now reinforced. This can quickly turn a leader into a tyrant. In order to break out of the cycle,  dialog has to take place before strike 3.  A leader needs to take time each week to solve problems and have open feedback with everyone on the team.  No favorites, everyone treated equally.  Lack of communication is  the root of all  workplace evil–

And for the record, lack of communication usually happens in companies where communications is the main business–Welcome to radio!

(Gregory Peck knows how to communicate…(Although he does snap at the end of the movie 12 o’clock High)–

Deep Down Inside–You Like Commercials!

I write and sell radio commercials for a living, so maybe I listen a bit differently than you do.  I love powerful, well written commercials–I raise the volume when they come on!   Arbitron just conducted a major study about how long listeners stay through commercials.  Guess what? Radio keeps 93% of its lead in audience during an average break!  This was groundbreaking because the perception for years has been that a radio station loses more than 50% of its audience after the first spot. 

…”The new study, using data from 18 million commercial breaks, 62 million minutes of commercials and 866 stations for a year, showed, among other findings, that one- to three-minute commercial breaks deliver audience levels “practically the same as the lead-in audience”; Longer spot breaks of four to six minutes-plus delivered an average minute audience nearly 90 percent of the lead-in audience; Commercial breaks in morning drive deliver 97 percent of their lead-in audience; and among teens and persons 18-24, radio delivers nearly 90 percent of its lead-in audience during commercial breaks, while among people age 65+, radio delivers 98 percent of the lead-in audience during the stop sets….”

These numbers represent “average” commercials and stop sets.  When you factor in more creative commercials the lead in audience is even higher.  The real problem with radio commercials is radio.  As an industry we write crappy, clichéd, uninspired drivel, that you have a heard a thousand times.  If the average station can keep 93% of its audience with most of the junk I hear, can you imagine what we could do with some powerful, compelling creative?

Radio commercials need to paint  mental pictures…pierce the heart…create emotions…offer something compelling…

Nothing is quite as powerful as the spoken word…All commercials all the time!  (Hey, it worked for Christmas music)

Arbitron Commercial study

Everyone loves Polar Bears….Right?

Thanksgiving 2011.  My Mother asks  if we have any Coke.  I can’t do justice to just the way she phrased it, but  to paraphrase, it went something like….”And not any of that diet crap”…  So, my wife proudly retrieves a brand new can of Coca-Cola in the special can that helps the Polar Bears.  Everyone loves polar bears–White, furry, look great in a Santa hat.  The problem is, the special polar bear Coke can looks just like, you guess it, a Diet Coke.  Granted, one is white and one is silver, but at a glance, they look identical.   No one at Coke thought this could be an issue?  Where is my Jolly 1930’s Santa Claus can?  Global warming has really become inconvenient when they take away my red holiday cans!

As everyone discussed (argued) about the validity of the white can, I cleared my throat and gave my famous speech on why this would fail.  Consequently,  it’s the same speech I gave my sales team when Netflix went temporarily insane and tried to rebrand  to the name “Quickster”.  The take away from my loud proclamations was that Coke would drop this new can by Christmas.

So as I awoke this morning my Yahoo news hit me with the big news—

America is confused by the white Coke can–It looks too much like a Diet Coke–It will be pulled from the shelves ahead of the time.  Some folks even said it tastes different! (Bread does taste better to me when it is cut diagonal!)

Now, some conspiracy theorists may say this was done to just drum up publicity—That I’m talking about Coke way more because of this stunt…Just like “New” Coke.  Maybe, but maybe not.  Coca-Cola is one of the biggest brands in the world–They have  the resources to market test better than any other company–So what went wrong?  My nine year old daughter thought the can looked like a Diet Coke, but Coca-Cola didn’t anticipate this?  Something’s  fishy.  (Don’t polar bear love fish?..hmmm)

So you decide–Are we talking about Polar Bears  and Coke more because of the campaign?  Will more money find its way to Atlanta and Antarctica because of the controversy?   Some of the best advertising campaigns don’t seem like advertising at all–The point is to make people talk, although it didn’t work for Netflix–That was just a major miscalculation–But then again, Netflix is no Coke.

Either way,  Al Gore has now switched from Pepsi to Coke–All is right with the world.

She Blinded Me With Science!—Or Was It Art?

You can buy advertising anywhere.  Radio, billboards, TV, Google, Facebook, direct mail, cable, gas stations, park benches, sky writers—Hell, you can even put your logo on one of those blue hockey pucks in a urinal.  Yes, you can advertise just about anywhere, but should you?  The answer is relatively simple–Advertise where you can afford to hit the largest audience with the most frequency– consistently!—That’s the Science.   Oh Yea–Be Creative!  That’s the Art.

 To put it more directly, there are four keys to good advertising—Reach—Frequency—Consistency—Creative.   The first three are the science—The last one is the art.   Break anyone of them at your own peril.

(1)-Reach enough people with your message to make a real difference.  Broadcast is the best way to accomplish this.

(2)-Reach them frequently. Find loyal audiences that allow you to get a lot of repetition.  This is essential to make your business desired before it’s required.

(3)-Whatever medium you choose, you need to do it Consistently.  Mindshare is fleeting – you must maintain it or it will disappear.

(4)-Use high-quality, emotional & compelling Creative.  Nothing can kill a marketing investment more quickly than poor-quality or flat creative. 

Advertising can take your business to new heights.  It just has to be used properly.  The four keys are the easiest ways to test your current campaign, and to ensure success for future advertising endeavors.

Go unlock some advertising magic…


STP–See The People

See the People…This little piece of advice has floated around in my brain for the past 22 years.  My sales career started in 1989 when I picked up Tom Hopkins book, How to Master The Art of Selling.  I started reading every book, and going to every seminar on sales and marketing after reading it.    One of the goals I always have is to try  and implement a nugget of knowledge from each book or seminar.   The one thing that resonated with me from Tom Hopkins was STP.   In the age of social media, See the People has never mattered more.

Staying connected with people is the lifeblood  of sales.  “Liking” Facebook posts, connecting on Linked in, an email here and there.  These are all  good ways to connect and should be part of every business person’s arsenal.  However, deep,  lasting connections only come from seeing the people.  Social media is a great way to keep the pump flowing and to kill off the dreaded beast of  “out of sight, out of mind”.  Before you can keep the pump flowing,  you need to prime it.  Trust  is what primes sales, and it only comes when the relationship has time to grow.  You can’t come across as clingy, pushy, or needy.  One coffee at a time, slowly growing a business contact into a client.  Belly to belly. … eyeball to eyeball. 

If the average salesperson engages in all the ways to properly market themselves, and makes it a point to visit at least five prospects a day, (every business is different, five seems to work for radio salespeople) eventually things will begin to click.  A good analogy is a train.  It takes a lot of energy to get a train rolling down the track.  Once it does, it takes a lot of energy to stop it, because an object in motion tends to stay in motion.

Trust doesn’t come easy or cheap.  Learn everything you can about your clients.  Another great book that changed my life was Harvey Mackay’s Swim With The Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive.  Harvey takes the STP concept to a whole new level… the point of even knowing your client’s kids birthdays.  How’s that for a powerful concept?

Tell your story…be passionate…..listen…..learn……grow .   If you can grow relationships with sincerity, authenticity, and transparency, you will build a world class client list.  Just be patient and be genuinely happy to help your clients win.  As Zig Ziglar says,   “You can get anything you want in life, if you help enough people get what they want”…

Go See the People!  (After that you can get back to your Facebook posts)

 How To Master the Art of Selling

Swim With The Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive

Zig Ziglar

How I Raised Myself From Failure To Success In Selling

We Write Ads or People Die

This time of year is magical, frustrating, and wonderful all rolled into one.  Will you hit your 2011 budgets?  How much will they raise your goals for 2012.  Christmas parties, endless Christmas music, and my daughter changing her Christmas list to Santa ten times a day.  So how do I cut through the clutter and clear my mind?  I write some ads!  Good ads.  Radio ads that are memorable and make you raise the volume  in your car.  Ones that make you think.  Ones that make you relive a piece of your life that made you smile. 

Writing ads is how I relax..I know it’s crazy.  Try it sometime.  Think of a great stories you tell your friends at holiday parties.  The ones that make them laugh and gather around.  Take those stories, condense them down to 60 seconds, and go create some magic on the radio.

In the meantime, get inspired and enjoy my favorite YouTube clip on the power of the copywriter.

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